A jolly romp through London in the blitz sounds like an unlikely idea for a novel, but Dear Mrs Bird is full of poignant moments that cut through the froth of its narrator’s voice ... And though at times the book seems like an Evelyn Waugh pastiche crossed with a Radio 4 comedy drama, complete with hilarious misunderstandings and some dodgy dialogue, Emmy is truly charming. When her upper lip finally wobbles, the reader’s will, too ... along the way she shows some grown-up insights as well as true grit ... In the end, the novel’s spirit is madly winning.
...a moving, funny homage to women and friendship ... there is more to this very English novel than first meets the eye ... Dear Mrs. Bird is a delightful read — funny and poignant, yet with horrific descriptions of bombed-out London.
London during the Blitz is a well-worn setting, but Pearce successfully brings a fresh perspective by placing Emmy, Bunty, and their concerns centre stage. The women are charming. Their stories weave together episodes of romance, family and friendship set against the pressures and tragedies of German air raids ... Inspired by actual Agony Aunt columns from wartime magazines, she’s given us a fun read ... expect Emmy and her jolly adventure to make some noise.
It’s full of great characters, witty dialogue, historic backdrops, and a thoughtful recurring thread of what it means to be true to one’s self no matter how botched-up the circumstances may be ... Author Pearce has nested a breezy tale of a young woman’s stint as a secret advice columnist within the daunting reality of life in a city under siege. And despite the fact that her title character is the least believable of all, Pearce successfully uses the existence of Mrs. Bird to reveal the story of the younger generation emerging from the Blitz.
Vividly evocative of wartime life, with its descriptions of bombed streets, frantic fire stations, and the desperate gaiety and fortitude of ordinary souls enduring nightly terror, Pearce’s novel lays a light, charming surface over a graver underbelly ... Although the jauntiness and feel-good tone can grate on occasion, especially during the farcical wrap-up, this is a readable, well-intentioned, very English tribute to the women of the homefront.